A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:37–40, NIV)
He that would be conformed to Christ’s image, and become a Christ-like man, must be constantly studying Christ Himself. His ways, His manners, His feelings, His wisdom, His grace, His patience, His love, His power, are graciously unfolded to us by four different witnesses.
Christ is our Rock, the Vine of the branches, our Brother, our Advocate and our King.
From the verses above we learn:
Following Christ will not prevent us having earthly sorrows and troubles
- The Lord Jesus taught his apostles that a man may be one of His chosen servants, and yet have to go through many an anxiety, and endure many a pain.
- If you are a believer, you must reckon on having your share of sickness and pain, of sorrow and tears, of losses and crosses, of deaths and bereavements, of partings and separations, of vexations and disappointments, so long as you are in the body.
- Christ promised that all who come to Him shall have all things pertaining to life and godliness; but He has never undertaken that He will make them prosperous, or rich, or healthy, and that death and sorrow shall never come to their family.
- In His name I can offer eternal life to any man, woman, or child. In His name I do offer pardon, peace, grace, glory, to any son or daughter of Adam. But I dare not offer that person worldly prosperity as a part and parcel of the Gospel. I dare not offer him long life, an increased income, and freedom from pain. I dare not promise the man who takes up the cross and follows Christ, that in the following he shall never meet with a storm.
- Many do not like these terms. They would prefer having Christ and good health, Christ and plenty of money, Christ and no deaths in their family, Christ and no wearing cares, Christ and a perpetual morning without clouds. But they do not like Christ and the cross, Christ and tribulation, Christ and the conflict, Christ and the howling wind, Christ and the storm.
- How should we know whether men served Christ for His own sake or from selfish motives, if His service brought health and wealth with it as a matter of course? The storms of affliction and care are useful in the same way. They discover whose faith is real, and whose is nothing but profession and form. The harvest of the Lord’s field is seldom ripened by sunshine only. It must go through its days of wind, and rain, and storm.
- If you profess to be a child of God, leave to the Lord Jesus to sanctify you in His own way. Rest satisfied that He never makes any mistakes. Be sure that He does all things well.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. (Psalm 107:6–7, NIV)
The Lord Jesus Christ is truly and really Man
- Jesus was in the hinder part, “asleep on a pillow.” He was weary.
- He was equal to the Father in all things, and the eternal God. But He was also Man, and took part of flesh and blood, and was made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted.
- He had a body like our own. Like us, He was born of a woman. Like us, He grew and increased in stature. Like us, He was often hungry and thirsty, and faint and weary. Like us, He ate and drank, rested and slept. Like us, He sorrowed, and wept, and felt.
- He that ruled over principalities and powers in heavenly places, took on Him a frail body like our own. He that might have dwelt for ever in the glory which He had with the Father, amidst the praises of legions of angels, came down to earth and dwelt as a Man among sinful men.
- He in whom I am told by Scripture to trust is not only a great High Priest, but a feeling High Priest. He is not only a powerful Saviour, but a sympathising Saviour, He is not only the Son of God, mighty to save, but the Son of man, able to feel.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14–16, NIV)
- Give me the friend who, though poor in gold and silver, has always ready a sympathizing heart.
- God has given us One who has not only a strong hand to pluck us as brands from the burning, but a sympathizing heart on which the labouring and heavy-laden may find rest.
- It was marvellous love in our Saviour to condescend to go through weakness and humiliation for our sakes, ungodly rebels as we are. It was marvellous wisdom to fit Himself in this way to be the very Friend of friends, who could not only save man, but meet him on his own ground.
- Had my Saviour been God only, I might perhaps have trusted Him, but I never could have come near to Him without fear. Had my Saviour been Man only, I might have loved Him, but I never could have felt sure that He was able to take away my sins. He was a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)
- Are your poor and needy: So also was Jesus. He preached in a borrowed boat, rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed ass, and was buried in a borrowed tomb.
- Are you alone in this world? So also was Jesus. He came unto His own, and they received Him not. He came to be a Messiah to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and they rejected Him.
- Are you misunderstood, misrepresented, slandered, and persecuted? So also was Jesus. He was called a glutton and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans, a Samaritan, a madman, and a devil. False charges were laid against Him. An unjust sentence was passed upon Him, and, though innocent, He was condemned and as such died on the cross.
- Does Satan tempt you? He tempted Jesus, but Christ overcame him.
- Do you ever feel great agony an conflict in your mind? Do you feel in darkness as if God had left you? So did Jesus.
There may be much weakness and infirmity, even in a true Christian.
- There was impatience
- There was unbelief
- There was distrust
- Sense of immediate peril often makes men have a bad memory. Fear is often unable to reason from past experience. They heard the winds. They saw the waves. They felt the cold waters beating over them. They fancied death was close at hand.
- The plain truth is that there is no literal and absolute perfection among true Christians, so long as they are in the body. The best and brightest of God’s saints is but a poor mixed being. Converted, renewed, and sanctified though he be, he is still compassed with infirmity.
Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. (Ecclesiastes 7:20, NIV)
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. (James 3:2, NIV)
- Abraham was so far overcome by unbelief, that he allowed Sarah to be called his sister, and not his wife, through the fear of man. Here was great infirmity. Yet there have been few greater saints than Abraham.
- David at one time was so far overtaken by fear and unbelief that he said, “I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul.” (1 Samuel 27:1) He forgot the many wonderful deliverances he had experienced at God’s hand.
- No one knows the length and breadth of his own infirmities if he has not been tempted. No one can say how much weakness might appear in himself if he was placed in circumstances to call it forth.
- Peter, and James, and John were true disciples, and yet not so spiritual but that they could be afraid. Do not make the unbelief of the disciples an excuse for yourself. But remember that so long as you are in the body you must not expect faith to be above the reach of fear.
- You must not hastily conclude that a man has no grace merely because you see in him faltering. There are flaws in some of the finest diamonds in the world; and yet they do not prevent their being rated at a priceless value. Our bodies are indeed the temple of the Holy Ghost, but not a perfect temple until they are raised or changed. Grace is indeed a treasure, but a treasure in earthen vessels.
- The Apostles believed in Christ, loved Christ, and gave up all to follow Christ. And yet you see in this storm the Apostles were afraid. Allow that a man may be converted, have a new heart, and be a holy man, and yet be liable to infirmity, doubts and fears.
The power of the Lord, Jesus Christ
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. (Mark 4:39, NIV)
- We know the expression, “You may just as well speak to the wind!”. Jesus did, and it obeyed.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8, NIV)
- Creation: “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3, NIV) That very Jesus, who was born of a poor woman at Bethlehem and lived in a carpenter’s house at Nazareth, had been the Former of all things.
- Providence: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17, NIV) “Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve You.” (Psalm 119:91, NIV)
- Miracles:things which are impossible with man are possible with Christ. Remember that in Christ there is not only a fulness of mercy, but a fulness of power.
- Your own life: What about the storms in your life, spiritual and physical? Your Lord and Master Jesus Christ can rebuke the devil’s raging, can calm even your soul’s misery, and say even to you, “Peace, be still!” He can scatter that cloud of guilt which now weighs you down. He can bid despair depart. He can drive fear away. He can remove the spirit of bondage and fill you with the spirit of adoption. Satan may hold your soul like a strong man armed, but Jesus is stronger than he, and when He commands, the prisoners must go free.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea— the Lord on high is mighty. (Psalm 93:4, NIV)
- Doubt anything else if you will, but never doubt Christ’s power.
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25, NIV)
How tenderly and patiently the Lord deals with weak believers
- At no time of our Lord’s ministry did the disciples seem to comprehend fully the object of His coming into the world. The humiliation, the atonement, the crucifixion, were hidden things to them.
- But what do you see in our Lord’s behaviour towards these disciples all through His ministry? You see nothing but unchanging pity, compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, and love.
- He teaches them as they are able to bear. He leads them on step by step, as a nurse does an infant when it first begins to walk. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax.
- As a father pities his children, so He pities them that fear Him. As one whom his mother comforts, so will He comfort His people. He may correct him occasionally in love. He may gently reprove him at times. But He will never, never give him up. The devil shall never pluck him from Christ’s hand.
- The Lord Christ does not cast off poor sinners who have committed their souls into His hands because He sees in them blemishes and imperfections.
- Who is there now that feels desires after salvation, but is afraid to become decided, lest by-and-by he should fall away? Consider the tenderness and patience of the Lord Jesus and be afraid no more. Fear not to take up the cross and come out boldly from the world. That same Lord and Saviour who bore with the disciples is ready and willing to bear with you.
- Christ’s service will not secure you against troubles. The holiest saints are liable to them.
- Christ is very Man as well as God.
- Believers may have much weakness and infirmity, and yet be true believers.
- Christ has all power
- Christ is full of patience and kindness towards His people.
- Maybe you know nothing of Christ’s service by experience, or of Christ Himself. I can only warn you solemnly that your present course cannot last. You will not live for ever. There must be an end. You will find no comfort when sick and dying, unless Jesus Christ is your friend. You will, discover, to your sorrow and confusion, that however much men may talk and boast, they cannot do without Christ when they come to their deathbed. Break off from a world which can never really satisfy you, and seek that treasure which alone is truly incorruptible.
“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. (Proverbs 1:22–23, NIV)
- Maybe you love the Lord Jesus, and believe in Him, and yet desire to love Him better. Do not regard the Gospel as a mere set of abstract propositions and obscure principles and rules. Look at it as the introduction to a glorious, personal Friend. Nothing is so likely to prepare us for that heaven where Christ’s personal presence will be all, and that glory where we shall meet Christ face to face, as to realise communion with Christ, as an actual living Person here on earth. There is all the difference in the world between an idea and a person.